Create your own blog from scratch | Step by Step Guide
Blogging has definitely become one of the most prevalent ways of communicating and spreading news and information. There are overwhelmingly millions of blogs on the World Wide Web, and it is growing even more.
So what makes blogging so popular these days?
According to Wikipedia, a blog is a personal weblog or an online diary where people keep a running account of their personal lives. With blogging, people can write just about anything to inform, amuse or inspire others. Not only is blogging a great pastime, but it is also a great way to make money. Blogging has become popular even to business people because they saw it as a perfect marketing strategy to reach their target audiences.
Many bloggers today enjoy earning passive income from their blogs. Would you believe that some earn as much as $50,000/ month for a single blog post?
If writing is your passion, you can absolutely create your own blog too. You don’t need to be an exceptional writer to create one?
Blogging requires that you are able to articulate yourself in writing, but it does not require you to use highfalutin words or jargons that only experts would understand. Just write in a conversational tone as I always do in my posts, but write in such an engaging and creative way that people would enjoy reading your content.
Be that as it may, you need to know first the basics in setting up your own blog. I know it will be quite confusing at first, and more challenging to keep it up and running. I had the same problems when I started out blogging way back in 2012. However, my love for writing and my enthusiasm for learning new things have kept me going.
So I’m now sharing my knowledge with you, aspiring bloggers, to help you create your own blog from scratch. Let me walk you through the following steps.
- Find your Niche
- Select a Blogging Platform
- Choose a Web Host
- Install your Site
- Create a Blog Plan
- Create your Social Media pages
- Create Your Content
- Promote your Blog
Find Your Niche
A blog niche refers to a clearly defined topic (or topics) covered by a particular blog and written with a specific audience in mind.
Choosing the right niche when you create your own blog is so important. Why? Because it is your gateway to attract a large following (or visitors) and earn profitable income from your blog.
But how exactly do you find your niche?
First, choose something you know and love. What are you passionate about? What are your hobbies? How do you spend your free time? What is the one topic you are comfortable discussing about for hours? What do you enjoy reading and learning about?
By blogging what you are passionate about, you’re more likely to put the time and effort into your blog and less likely to run out of ideas.
Second, your niche must be something you can represent yourself as an expert. Remember that you will write to your specific audience, so you need to be knowledgeable about the topics that you want to blog about. Such topics must be written in such a way that will convince and interest your readers and will help to build trust with your site visitors.
Finally, look for a niche which is not “overcrowded”. The truth is, there are thousand more bloggers who also write topics within your chosen niche. However, not everyone has explored its every nook and cranny. That’s where the profitability can come in.
You can narrow your niche by adjusting your target audience to those who rarely get attention, such as beginner versus advanced individuals in your industry. Another example is my chosen niche which is about motherhood and parenting. My specific audience includes mothers, but I choose to write topics specifically for work-at-home moms or for stay-at-home moms who wanted to have some ideas about earning money from home.
Once you’ve figured out which niche you want to focus on, you can now start selecting your blogging platform.
I have discussed more about finding your niche in our FREE Blogging 101 e-book, get your copy here.
Select a blogging platform
Choosing where you want to build a blog is pretty much the first thing you have to do. There are plenty of blogging platforms to choose from such as WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, Wix, TypePad, and others, but for blogging newbies, the best platform to go is WordPress.
WordPress is by far one of the biggest blogging platforms in the world. It has countless plugins and add-ons and almost unlimited ways to design and layout your blog. It’s FREE, very user-friendly, and perfect for people who’ve never built a blog before.
You can create a blog for free, but I don’t recommend sticking to a free plan if you wish to grow in blogging. Blogs created on free blogging platforms have limited functions:
- You don’t own your blog because it is being hosted to another website (e.g., YourBlog.WordPress.com).
- You can’t use all the free plugins or themes.
- You don’t have enough space for posting images and videos because free blogging platforms will give you a free space of only 3GB.
- You cannot fully monetize it.
- Perhaps the worst scenario is that your blog can be shut down anytime if you violate their terms of service, even by accident.
Instead, create a self-hosted WordPress blog where you don’t have any limitations.
Choose a host
Choosing your host is one of the most important aspects of creating your blog. Hosting is basically the service that keeps your blog accessible for everyone. It stores all the files, images and content that your blog has and displays it to the visitors. It’s a sort of computer hard-drive on the internet where your blog will be saved.
As I mentioned earlier, you need to create a self-hosted blog to make you the real owner of it. You’ll be able to name your blog whatever you want.
You also need to pick a domain name for your blog. Your domain name is important because:
- It’s your “first impression” to website visitors;
- It affects your rankings in search engines; and
- It defines your brand.
With that in mind, you need to choose a brandable domain name or one that stands out from the competition. Avoid using a generic name that is usually unremarkable and stuffed with general keywords. You should also keep it concise and easy to pronounce.
Thus, choose a domain name that reflects your blog – it should be catchy, unique and memorable.
So how much is hosting and a domain name? Luckily, there are hosting providers that do not cost a fortune.
I personally use Pangalan.com as my web hosting provider. Aside from the fact that it is a Filipino-owned web hosting company (let’s support our own!), you have a bunch of quality hosting plan and domain name to choose from, which are all of reasonable prices.
Apart from Pangalan.com, there are still a handful of reliable hosting providers in the online market. Feel free to choose one that suits your taste.
Install your site
Now that you are able to choose your hosting provider and domain name, it is time to install your blog site.
For easy access, the web host you chose must have a “one-click” WordPress install solution on its admin panel.
If WordPress isn’t there for some reason, scroll down a little bit on the control panel and click on “Quick Install” under the Software & Services section.
When you’re finished, “Install WordPress”. Once you’ve done that, you’ll see a loading bar at the top of your page that will eventually tell you that your WordPress blog has been installed and you’ll see your log-in credentials.
Once the installation completes, you’ll get an email that shares your login information, including an “Admin URL”. (In case you missed that notification bar)
To log in to your blog, click the admin URL. If you forget this URL, it’s simply www.yourblog.com/wp-admin (where “yourblog” is your domain name).
Once your blog is set up, you can sign up for any blogging course for more tips on how to get readers, earn money, and personalize your blog.
Feeling overwhelmed? You can hire someone to do it for you. Try Fiverr, there are numbers of trusted web developers you can hire from this platform.
Create a Blog Plan
To ensure that your blog has quality content and that you are pointing to the right direction, I highly recommend that you create a blog plan.
You need to have a content plan because it makes the writing come easier, compared to having no plan at all. If you don’t have a plan and you have limited time to blog, chances are, you end up sitting in front of your computer screen with no idea what to write about.
The first step in making a blog content plan is to brainstorm as many ideas as you can and list them in your sheet. Ideas may also come from a reader’s survey, questions commonly asked by blog readers, articles from magazines, or any other issues that you may encounter from day to day, to name a few.
In your blog content plan, determine how frequently you post. You may choose to post every day or once a week, but you should always put a premium on the quality of your post. The quality of your post is crucial because it is how readers gauge your expertise and understanding of the topics you write about.
In the Blogging 101.1 Online Course, discussed How to Create a Strategic Blog Plan in detail. If you want to learn more, you can enroll in this course so I can teach you closely. There’s also a downloadable format you can use to personalize your own Strategic Blog Plan. Enroll here.
Create your Social Media pages
Creating your social media pages is beneficial to boost your blog traffic. This way you are able to attract quite a number of visitors to follow your blog.
If you’re wanting to use social media to boost your blog traffic, here are some ways to do that:
- Get on Twitter. If it’s not yet on your blog, add the “tweet” button to all of your blog posts.
- Start a Facebook page for your blog and regularly share your content on Facebook. There are some great tools to help make this easier for you. Encourage your readers to do the same by adding a Facebook “like” or “share” button.
- Ask others to promote your blog via a public forum like Reddit. You may occasionally do this yourself, but be careful of doing it repeatedly, as some sites penalize sites with multiple submissions from the same user.
- Implement social sharing tools on your website. An excellent tool is Flare, which allows you to combine sharing options via Twitter, Facebook, email, and social bookmarking sites into one tool.
- Write catchy headlines that people will want to share.
- Write a compelling content
Start Writing your Contents
If you want your blog to stand out on social media sites, you need to say something worth listening to. Hence, it is essential that you write a compelling content to attract your target audience.
To write a blog post, you must choose a topic, create an outline, conduct research, and check facts. Your headline must be informative and appealing to your readers.
Write your draft in a single session or gradually work on parts of it. Keep sentences and paragraphs short. Use images to enhance your post, and improve its flow.
Finally, edit your blog post. Make sure it is devoid of any spelling errors and repetition. Use a grammar checker to eliminate grammatical errors. Read your post aloud to check its flow, or have someone else read it and provide feedback.
Now you’ve come to the final stage of building your own blog. It matters that you consistently update your blog with compelling content and all, but it takes more than that to be successful with blogging. If you don’t have traffic coming in, all of your efforts are a waste of time. With that in mind, let me share with you a few tips on how to promote your blog content to build traffic, encourage shares, and increase visibility:
- You must be a reliable and trustworthy source. Write something that will solve the problems of your readers, answer their questions, or show them how to make their lives easier. In other words, make sure that your content is beneficial and can be relied upon by your audience.
- Maximize your chances of being found. You can do this by inserting keywords to your topic. It will greatly improve the odds of your blog posts to be found organically through search results.
- Take time to build better relationships. Don’t let the people in your personal and professional networks feel like you’re just using them as a tool to spread your blog content. You also need to share their content and regularly engage them on their blog and social channels. When the time comes for your piece to be published, those people are far more likely to share it with their connections when they see that you’ve been doing the same for them.
- Dig into relevant groups and forums where you can share opinions and take part in discussions. As your involvement in the community grows, you can start sharing your content within those communities. Just keep this basic rule in mind: Social media is about engagement – not spam. Don’t try to blast your content into groups you don’t participate in.
- Guest post on relevant blogs within your industry or vertical. This is one of the best ways to get referral traffic. Connect with influencers and other content producers, offer to provide content on a certain topic, and provide the post in exchange for an author box with a link back to your site.
- Try a short paid campaign to “boost” the post. You can post your content to your social channels and get additional reach outside of your immediate network. Facebook allows this kind of promotion to make your content more visible to those who like your page, and their friends.
If you want to learn more about how to drive traffic to your blog, I can teach you. Grab a seat in the Blogging 101.1 Online Course now so we can take your blogging to its next level.
Building a successful blog truly takes time. You need to be in it for the long haul to create a good one and to get it up and running. And when you have one, keep updating your blog with useful content. Just don’t give up when you feel like you are not getting the satisfaction you need like attracting traffic or earning money. It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen soon.